Good news about exercise: just 30 minutes can do the trick!

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By J. E. Hinners, MD MPH

Do you struggle with motivation to keep up with exercising?

Perhaps New Year’s rolls around, and you begin a new workout plan only to find yourself fading out later in the year.

Perhaps you have a busy work schedule and find it difficult to be consistent in squeezing in workouts throughout the week.

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Motivation is perhaps one the most critical factors in beginning and maintaining a lifestyle of fitness. Without motivation, exercise can just feel like a constant uphill battle – sometimes not even worth the effort or trouble.

The good news and quick tip of the day is that shorter workouts may not only help to boost your fitness morale but may also prove to be more effective for weight loss.

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30-minute workout or 60-minute workout?

A Scandinavian study, published in February 2014, compared workouts of varying durations for 61 Danish men over the course of 12 weeks. The men were randomly placed into control groups as well as moderate endurance  and high-intensity endurance workout groups. Workouts included cycling, running and cross-training.

The group that exercised out for only 30 minutes at a time (“moderate endurance”) expressed a more positive attitude toward working out. These men felt more energetic and were not overwhelmed by the workouts. Men who exercised 60 minutes at a time (“high-intensity endurance”) had a more negative view of working out. They experienced exercise to be time-consuming and energy-draining.

Moreover, those who worked out only 30 minutes a day lost an average of 7.9 lbs over the three-month period, while men who exercised 60 minutes a day only lost an average of 6 lbs.

What it could mean for you

If you are having trouble with motivation to work out – or if you have an insane work schedule – try shortening your workout aspirations to just 30-minute periods. And guilt-free! You may find a greater ability to keep up with fitness goals by making this one small (and welcome) change.

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